Designer’s Take on Our Dining Room: {Ali Hartwell}

Today we’ve got our second installment of Designer’s Take, our latest series where our favorite designers and stylists share what they would do if they could ge their hands on our new/old house {reminder: I’m calling it that since the house is 140 years old!}. In this edition, our very own spring intern Ali Hartwell is offering her take on the perfect dining room. To jog your memory, here is what the dining room looked like! 

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Definitely scary on the surface, but here’s what we’ll have to work with when construction is done!

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We’re really not changing too much – everything we do in this room will be cosmetic. {What? You think we should leave the raspberry pink ceiling??} The dining room is a pretty large space with a fireplace centered on the far left wall. There are also the original pocket doors that separate the dining room from the adjacent living room. A large set of bay windows sits on the opposite wall. You can see what they look like from the exterior here. It’s definitely going to be a fun space to play with! But here’s what Ali would do.

Ali’s Designer Take: I think I’ve developed such a fondness for dining areas probably because a solid chunk of my life has been spent sitting within them. So many of my favorite memories are tied to laughing and connecting with family and friends over home-cooked meals and MANY a bottle of wine. That’s why when it comes to dining room decor, I always try to create a look that’s going to invite people to sit down and stay awhile.


If the space allows, I love defining a dining area with a piece of statement art to serve as the backdrop to the actual table setting. And what better way to compliment said artwork than with a completely badass lighting fixture?! Since there’s not really much to a dining area, I say go big or go home.

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I imagine an Erin’s old San Franciscan Victorian to be the perfect setting for a killer dining room—high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors and plenty of natural light streaming in from oversized windows make for an already inviting space and the perfect blank canvas.

Here’s a look I think would play nicely in Erin’s dining room:



  1. Table
  2. > Light
  3. Chairs
  4. Art
  5. Pitcher
  6. Dishware
  7. Planter
  8. > Rug


I think Ali has the right idea when it comes to our dining room. I see a statement chandelier in my future and I’m very excited about that. And a eye-catching piece of art over the fireplace would be quite nice too. The search for the perfect dining table is likely to be the ultimate treasure hunt but only time will tell. Once our walls are closed up and we’re moving on to finish work I think it’ll be much easier for a design direction to take shape.

Where do you think it should head??

To see more of Ali’s design work, you can visit her website or follow her visual musings via Instagram @athartwell.

For our first Designer’s Take on what we should do in our kitchen, CLICK HERE! And for even more inspiration for our renovations you can check out my remodel Pinterest board and our Tumblr!


image 1 via The Design Files // image 2 via arper // image 3 via My Domaine

Instagrammers Delight: {3 Must-Follow Shop Owners}

We’ve been spending waaaaay too many hours on Instagram {again} and have stumbled upon three accounts that you have to follow. What makes these accounts special – besides the obviously awesome photos – are that they’re all curated by badass shop owners who not only have an amazing eye for style and design, but also run a successful business, some even doing it with little ones running around! We know life isn’t always as pretty as Instagram filters make us believe, but these women are doing a fine job at a.) juggling rockstar lives and b.) making us obsessed with everything they touch!


First off, hide your wallets. Or don’t. Mür is a carefully curated home goods store run by Danielle and her hubby, Joel. Selling timeless pieces for the kitchen like ceramic pitchers, copper mugs and linen aprons, you might, like us, just die over every product shot. Beyond that, we love that these pretty pieces appear to fit seamlessly in a lifestyle of busy, business and babies – something that this pair definitely seems to have a hold on!


Parc is a fun, growing {their new second location just opened!} boutique in bustling Minneapolis filled with ‘all the goodies’ – from gorgeous garments for the minimalism lover to hand-made jewelry, ceramics and everything beautiful in between. Thao is always giving us first looks at what’s just arrived through the shop’s doors. Paired with her gorgeous styling we could literally take “one of each, please!”


Juley is a blogger here, co-founder of Montrose in Texas and quite possibly the most adorable gal, ever. Hailing out of NOLA, this business babe is always sharing her favorite hangouts in New Orleans – the city is on our must-visit list now! – as well as her stylish #ootd which’ll  certainly make you rethink how to look chic in the heat. With a refreshing feed {how many times do we have to see the same frequented LA haunt?} and equally unique flair, you’ll def want to follow her!

Any other inspirational business babes you love to follow? We wanna know!

You can check out our archive of enviable Instagrammers right HERE.

How to Style The Perfect Shelfie

#Shelfies are the new #selfies, didn’t ya know? They’re a way to express your personality in one small snap. Just like playful hairstyles and experimental makeup, you can continually switch them up depending on your mood. And just like the selfie, perfecting them ain’t easy! In fact,  your library of books and compiling a collection of curated items requires a lot of patience. But no matter where you are in your shelfie game, remember these three rules and you’ll have a perfectly styled bookshelf every time.


Here are three tips to getting it right:

#1: Horizontal x Vertical Books. Shelves should start with books, but mix up the way you display them. Try piling them horizontally or flipping the spines to face inward as well as keeping some standing vertical.

#2: Remember the 1:1 Ratio. For every stack of books, add an object. It could be anything: a candle, brass box, pretty collection of rocks, that awesome “thing” you couldn’t not buy at last month’s flea market. This is the best way to break up the ‘boxy library look’.

#3: Create Curated Character. The more your personality shows in your shelfie, the better! Add black and white photos of your grandparents as strapping, young lads. Display your vintage toy car collection. How about that piece of drift wood you picked up in Tulum? The quirky things that make you you, give your shelfie just as much character!


And here are 12 no-fail objects that’ll elevate your shelfie game in no time! Seriously, every shelfie should have these on display:



> 1. Brass Sculpture
> 2. Coexist Globe
> 3. Na Nin Candle Landslide
> 4. Saal Wood Pyramids
> 5. Brass Planter
> 6. Menu Concrete Lamp
> 7. Petrified Wood Bookends 
> 8. Collection of Parchment Books 
> 9. Saikai Pound Door Stopper 
> 10. Black Footed Ceramic Bowl
> 11. Small Gold Bowl
> 12. Antique Brass + Glass Boxes

For more stellar styling inspiration, you’ll want to peruse this Pinterest board!

image 1 via Apartment Therapy // 2 via Smitten Studio // 3 via My Domaine // 4 via Home Adore // 5 via Broste Copenhagen // 6 via My Dubio // 7 via Lonny // 8 via Style Me Pretty